AW promotion: Coach Paul Wilson talks through some of the key points in shot put selection

Choosing the right implement in the throws disciplines can be a nightmare. Let’s be honest, we’re all initially attracted by the paintwork, and surely paying more will get you better equipment, right?.. Wrong. Throwing the wrong discus, shot, hammer or javelin can knock metres off your result, and at worst can result in injury.

So how are you supposed to know the difference between the many choices, especially when the product descriptions all say ‘this is a precision engineered implement and when thrown correctly can add x% to your distance’. Of course the answer is complex, personal and largely down to experience. Equipment supplier Neuff Athletic has been working with some of the top UK coaches to shed some light on the conundrum.

READ MORE: How to choose the right discus

READ MORE: How to choose the right hammer

READ MORE: How to choose the right javelin

In the second article of a four-part series, here Paul Wilson, who is head of Valhalla Throws Academy and coach to 10-time British shot champion Scott Lincoln along with a number of other athletes to international levels, talks all things shot put.

Wilson knows that the main considerations when choosing a shot are the manufacturing method and diameter.


Generally speaking, the larger the better, as the shot should sit in the fingers resting against the pad of the hand and if the shot is too small, it will encourage you to throw it rather than using the correct ‘putting’ action. However, if the shot is too large, it will slip in your hand, so if you have particularly small hands you may wish to consider a smaller diameter.

Wilson is working with Neuff to develop a photographic guide to how the shot should sit in the hand, which will be published soon.


Maybe you like the paint colours of one range, or the shine of a stainless steel shot? There is more to consider than just how it looks, though. Once the shot has been used once or twice, it will inevitably look less shiny, and there are things to consider. Will you get a good grip? What sort of grip product do you use? When the paint chips off, will it go underweight? Will you be putting on to particularly hard or stony ground?

Stainless steel shot tend to be softer, so will dent more easily, and may need to be scuffed by rolling them down the pavement before use as they are so shiny. Painted shot tend to be cheaper, but will inevitably chip.


There is a lot of subtle difference as to what is going on inside a shot. Despite appearances, they are not cannonballs, and the top shot have carefully weighted centres to ensure best aerodynamic flight.

Do you need help choosing the right discus, javelin, hammer or shot?

Ultimately, to choose the right throwing equipment, you need advice from your coach and the chance to try a few different implements. Not everyone is lucky enough to have access to a good coach, so the authors of this four-part series – coaches Stuart Carlaw, Paul Wilson, Gary Herrington and David Turner – have agreed to help you with your decisions by offering video consultations. Take a video of you throwing your current implement and answer a few questions about your training and one of these expert coaches will review your throw and suggest 2-3 implements, along with reasons, to help you spend your money wisely.

Visit to take advantage of this fantastic offer.

Also, feel free to drop by and try the feel of different implements if you are in the South West. Neuff are able to host customers by appointment in a clean, socially-distanced manner. Contact [email protected] for more information.

» Click here to learn more about equipment supplier Neuff, which is continuing a long line of service to aspiring athletes

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